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willyjp
20-06-12, 06:42
In investigating my surname, in connection with family genealogy research, I have learned that my surname, "Prendergast" has the uncommon, if not rare, history of being traceable to its origin in Ireland in a single individual (or at least his immediate family). Maurice dePrendergast was a Cambro-Norman who's entry into Ireland is well documented (though details of how many close kin accompanied seem vague). His immediate origin was in Pembrokshire, Wales, where a place namesake persists to this day. His antecedents are somewhat less clear but apparently are attributable to one Norman of Flanders who took part in the Conquest in 1066. The name may have been acquired from a place name in Flanders, corrupted by passage through Norman French.

In any case, in investigating the Y genetics of my surname, I have learned that there are several well documented living descendants of Maurice dePrendergast, all of whom test R1a1a. Although we had a minor oral tradition in my family about descent from "one of William the Conqueror's Lieutenants", and even the explanation of the common given name "William" as being in honor of William himself, I was bemused to find that I tested R1b1a(2a1a1b4)....the common "Irish Sea" haplotype (I am actually Z255+/L159.2-, which is a bit uncommon).

Now I am well aware that there are a host of common reasons why a son might share the surname of a "father" without inheriting his Y-DNA. But I am writing this post in the hope of benefitting from some of the learning and wisdom about European history that I have observed in this forum. Specifically, I am soliciting comments about what historic cultural tendencies might make this occur, even make it common. Here I am alluding to comment about this I have seen (from less erudite sources) about the nature of property ownership and inheritance in Ireland after the Norman Conquest.

Is it true that, where the inheritance of property might be involved, sons might commonly take a mother's surname rather than the father's, if the estate was acquired through the family of the mother? Are there other common situations similar to this where a surname might not follow the "Y" line? Illegitimacy and adoption are of course common and always have been. But I am thinking of what other social institutions and customs might have influenced this to occur in those times.

Any comment or observations are most welcome, and thank you for your interest.

Dubhthach
21-06-12, 14:22
In investigating my surname, in connection with family genealogy research, I have learned that my surname, "Prendergast" has the uncommon, if not rare, history of being traceable to its origin in Ireland in a single individual (or at least his immediate family). Maurice dePrendergast was a Cambro-Norman who's entry into Ireland is well documented (though details of how many close kin accompanied seem vague). His immediate origin was in Pembrokshire, Wales, where a place namesake persists to this day. His antecedents are somewhat less clear but apparently are attributable to one Norman of Flanders who took part in the Conquest in 1066. The name may have been acquired from a place name in Flanders, corrupted by passage through Norman French.

In any case, in investigating the Y genetics of my surname, I have learned that there are several well documented living descendants of Maurice dePrendergast, all of whom test R1a1a. Although we had a minor oral tradition in my family about descent from "one of William the Conqueror's Lieutenants", and even the explanation of the common given name "William" as being in honor of William himself, I was bemused to find that I tested R1b1a(2a1a1b4)....the common "Irish Sea" haplotype (I am actually Z255+/L159.2-, which is a bit uncommon).

Now I am well aware that there are a host of common reasons why a son might share the surname of a "father" without inheriting his Y-DNA. But I am writing this post in the hope of benefitting from some of the learning and wisdom about European history that I have observed in this forum. Specifically, I am soliciting comments about what historic cultural tendencies might make this occur, even make it common. Here I am alluding to comment about this I have seen (from less erudite sources) about the nature of property ownership and inheritance in Ireland after the Norman Conquest.

Is it true that, where the inheritance of property might be involved, sons might commonly take a mother's surname rather than the father's, if the estate was acquired through the family of the mother? Are there other common situations similar to this where a surname might not follow the "Y" line? Illegitimacy and adoption are of course common and always have been. But I am thinking of what other social institutions and customs might have influenced this to occur in those times.

Any comment or observations are most welcome, and thank you for your interest.

Prendergast like a lot of Cambro-Norman's often became heavily gaelicised and adopted most of features of Irish society. This is particulary evident in the like of Mayo. Where the Burkes (De Burgh) of Mayo even went so far to rotate their "kingship" between the four branches of the family and used a pre-existing inanguaration site to elect their "Clann leader". Here's an interesting post on the topic from a post on boards.ie who is doing historical research on the topic:


Don't assume an Irish name means Catholic - many Irish 'converted' when they submitted- the best example being the O'Briens earls of Thomond who were Anglican and one can't get more Irish then the descendants of Boru!


Race is often brought into this when, in fact, the concept of 'race' as we know it was only beginning to develop and didn't really start to be a major issue until much later. The main issues of contention then were religion and culture. In Ireland under the Tudors Culture was the main thing with far more emphasis being placed on the annihilation of Gaelic culture then on religious conversion.


It might be worth discussing the Gaelic Irish conception of 'race' here. To them there were two types of people - An Gael (the 'Irish') and An Gáll (everyone else!). The Scots confused the issue a bit as they were also 'Gaelic' but when living in Ireland were usually referred to as Gálloglaigh (gallowglass - foreign warrior).
When the Gaelic Irish referred to their 'race' they meant their specific Clan and their 'country' was their clan lands. Although they may collectively occasionally refer to themselves as 'Irish' - this was more akin to us calling ourselves 'European' than an assumption of a national identity.


A person's 'race' was defined by their surname - descent was patrilinier [i.e through the male line].


To illustrate by way of example:
Gráinne Ní Mháille (Lit - Gráinne daughter of [distant male ancestor] Máille) was An Gael. Her 'country' was Umhall Uí Máille - now Murrisk in Mayo.
Her first husband was Domhnaill Na Chogaidh Ua Flaithbhertaigh (Domhnaill son of [distant male ancestor] Flaithbhertaigh of Iar Chonnacht. Also An Gael.


They had a daughter Máireadh Ni Fhlaithbhertaigh - she was An Gael. She married Risteard Mac Deamon an Chorrán á Búrc of Erris[ descendent of William Concur de Burgh via Eamonn Albanach á Búrc and Sabh Ní Mháille who founded the Mayo Bourkes) - An Gáll as his patrilinier line of descent was not Gaelic. Culturally he was completely Gaelic and fought against Anglicisation his entire life. Máireadh and Mac Deamon had a son - Daithi á Búrc = An Gáll.


Gráinne and Domhnaill's son Muirtaigh Na Moar Ua Flaithbhertaigh - An Gael - married Cáitriona á Búrc -[ also descended from William Concur de Burgh but of the Galway branch) An Gáll. Their children were all 'An Gael'.


When Domhnaill died, Gráinne returned to Umhall Uí Máille - i.e. her 'race' and her 'country' as her husband's death had ended the marriage alliance and as a 'foreigner' she had no business being in Iar Chonnacht. Her 3 children from the marriage stayed as they were of the 'race' of Flaithbhertaigh.


Gráinne later married Risteard In Iarainn á Búrc of Burrishoole (Mayo Bourkes]- (Risteard In Iarainn was the nephew of Gráinne's first husband via the marriage of Daithi á Búrc to Fionnghula Ní Fhlaithbhertaigh) he was An Gáll. They had one son - Tibboid na Long á Búrc - Yup, he was An Gáll. He married Meabh Ni Chonchobhair Sligigh - guess what she was...yes..An Gael! but their children bore the surname á Búrc making them all An Gáll.


The Uí Chonchobhair Sligigh was loyal to the crown of England but Sliocht Ullig - one of the 4 main septs of the Mayo Bourkes (collectively known as the Mac Uilliam Íochtair) [Sliocht Ullig's 'country' was Burrishoole, Erris and Achill] of whom Gáinne's second husband, youngest son and son-in-law were all members (and at some point all sept leaders and holders of the banned title of Mac Uilliam Íochtair) engaged in a 30 year war to try and prevent Anglicisation. Richard Bingham particularly targeted them for harsh reprisals - including the hanging of 3 children under 5 in 1586.
So the main opposition to the Tudors in North Connacht was conducted by people who called themselves 'English' but refused to give up Gaelic Culture while among those aiding the Crown were the (Anglican) O'Briens of Thomond - descendants of Ború and Uí Chonchobhair Sligigh - descendent of the O'Connor kings of Connacht and (occasional) high kings of Ireland. All of them 'Irish' to the core.


When we say Irish fought English - who exactly were the 'Irish' and who were the 'English'? Perhaps this blurring of the racial boundaries is why the powerful, rebellious and utterly committed to Gaelic culture Mac Uilliam Íochtair á Búrcs of Mayo are nearly invisible in Irish historiography - even though they fought longer and harder than anyone else against the Tudors and were the reason Connacht remained the most 'Irish' of the provinces...but they called themselves 'English'....


It's a funny old world when ya have a poke at it!

Irish society practised fosterage and divorce/concubines were very common features. You also often would have gotten people adopted into a grouping or where a woman claimed her son's were the sons of a lord (plenty of documented cases). The Gaelic lords would often accept this as it provided them with men who were willing to offer their swords in their service. As Conn Ó Néill is suppose to have said to have never refused a son that was claimed to be his.

Anyway I found the following link to a book published in 1941 that mentions the Prendergast's of Mayo several times:

http://www.archive.org/stream/historyofcountyo00knox/historyofcountyo00knox_djvu.txt

willyjp
25-06-12, 07:21
Very interesting. Thank you for that. And of particular interest is the Mayo history. I didn't go into what I know of my own recent heredity, but my most distant, fully known Prendergast ancestor is only 4 generations back, born in Portland, Maine. He always reported his parents as both born in Ireland, but we are very uncertain about their origins or names. But he did go on to marry a woman in Chicago who was born, as was most of her family (save the youngest few children) in Westport, Co. Mayo. This is a slender thread to hang origin on, but I have wondered if it indicated that his family origins were in Mayo also. I had read generalities about Mayo as being one center of Prendergasts, but it is quite interesting to read that medieval history of the Prndergasts (and McMorrises) of Mayo. Certainly must been plenty of descendants in that area by the 19th C.! I appreciate the reference!

Dan P.
17-10-12, 18:54
In any case, in investigating the Y genetics of my surname, I have learned that there are several well documented living descendants of Maurice dePrendergast, all of whom test R1a1a. Although we had a minor oral tradition in my family about descent from "one of William the Conqueror's Lieutenants", and even the explanation of the common given name "William" as being in honor of William himself, I was bemused to find that I tested R1b1a(2a1a1b4)....the common "Irish Sea" haplotype (I am actually Z255+/L159.2-, which is a bit uncommon).


Hi,
I found this thread because of my own search for topics relating to the Prendergast name and Y-DNA.
I am currently on a bit of a crusade trying to redress the misinformation and bad science being propagated by a small group of people, some of whom may have the surname Prendergast, on the website "familytreedna". These people assert that it has been somehow "proven" that the originator of the Prendergast name in Ireland was of the haplogroup R1a1a, a claim that is entirely specious.
It is an untenable claim firstly because the basic premise of "proving" the dna of someone who has been dead for 700 odd years by conjecture alone is absurd. Secondly, the base from which the results are drawn is tiny, tens rather than hundreds or thousands. They might be even tinier than they could be otherwise because of the gerrymandering of results to suit a possible agenda.
When more results are published, they may, at some point, "prove" that people with the surname Prendergast are mostly or predominantly descended from a single male antecendant. It may then be credibly conjectured that this antecedent was a particular historical person, but of course never proven. For the meantime, however, it remains an open question.
Lastly, I would like to address the question of genealogical pedigrees or "paper trails" of "well documented living descendants".
The mechanisms by which a male individual comes by their surname are diverse. By far the most frequent mechanism, however, is paternity, biological or otherwise. It is therefore fairly safe to assume that the mechanism by which a man came to have the surname Prendergast is by paternity. Whether you have a paper trail recording the succession of your forefathers or not is actually quite irrelevant unless that paper trail can be relied upon to record the sometimes unwelcome minutiae of human life such as adoptions, wayward daughters, unfaithful wives, matrilineal inheritance etc. etc. Given the weakness of the available records in a country like Ireland, I don't think we can trust the records to report these little things. Having had a look at the "documentation" in question, let's say that it wouldn't hold up in a court of law, and is by the admission of its original author based on conjecture.
Willyjp, I would say that whether you're descended from one of William's lieutenants or not is actually a complete mystery. In my opinion, any Prendergast is welcome as kin of mine, if based only on the commonality of having an 11 letter name!
Regards,
Dan Prendergast